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The Fokker Chronicles



World Markets:
Europe was mixed on the session with the London FTSE and CAC40 gaining while the German DAX was losing ground. Asian stocks were benefiting from Fed Chairman Greenspan's remarks yesterday. The Japanese Nikkei gained nearly 1.5% and the Hang Seng added 0.55% on its session. US equities took a minor nose dive following the durable goods number release earlier. Click here to check out what Brian Reynolds had to say about them.

Lookout at 10amEDT for the Help Wanted Index and New Homes Sales for January. Fed Governor Bies will be speaking today on the Financial Conditions and the Economy. After the bell we'll receive earnings reports from, The Gap(GPS:NYSE) and Kohls(KSS:NYSE).

Brokerage Chatter:

Banc of America lowered its target on Novellus Systems(NVLS:NASD) to $34 from $38. Legg Mason downgraded United Rentals(URI:NYSE) to hold from buy. Merrill Lynch upped Polo Ralph Lauren (RL:NYSE) to buy from neutral. Goldman Sachs downgraded Nordstrom(JWN:NYSE) to in-line from outperform. UBS upgraded Toys R Us(TOY:NYSE) to buy from neutral and raised their target to $22 from $14.

Deutsche Bank upgraded Shuffle Master(SHFL:NASD) to buy from hold and raised its target to $48 from $28. CSFB downgraded Nextel(NXTL:NASD) to neutral from outperform. Smith Barney downgraded Scholastic(SCHL:NASD) to hold from buy and cut its fiscal 2004 through 2006 estimates. Smith Barney however, upped National Semi(NSM:NYSE) to buy from hold.

Financial Headlines:
Stories :

CBS Marketwatch reports that Japan's Fair Trade Commission has raided Microsoft(MSFT:NASD) Japanese offices starting an investigation into potential antitrust violations.

The nation's largest pension fund, The California Public Employees' Retirement System(Calpers) said yesterday it has called for the resignation of Walt Disney Co.(DIS:NYSE) Chairman Michael Eisner adding it will withhold votes to re-elect him to the DIS board.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in an attempt to discourage market timing of mutual fund shares, the SEC could be considering imposing a 2% charge on all mutual fund sales on investors who held those shares for 5 days or less.

According to the The Wall Street journal, governement financial regulators said Fannie Mae(FNM:NYSE) is still using nearly 70 outdated manual accounting systems which could create problems similar to that of the $1.1 billion error seen last fall.


Novellus(NVLS:NASD) raised its guidance last night during its mid quarter update.
Cox Radio(CXR:NYSE) beat by $0.03.
JC Penney(JCP:NYSE) beat by $0.03 but guided its 1st quarter EPS below consensus.
Limited(LTD:NYSE) missed by $0.01 however it guided its 2004 above consensus estimates. Company also announced a $1 billion buyback and increased its dividend 20%.
Toll Brothers(TLL:NASD) beat the Street by $0.02 but missed on its revenue estimates.

Around the world in 80 ticks:

Reuters report that Clear Channel Communications Inc.(CCU:NYSE) said last night it has dropped nationally syndicated "shock jock" Howard Stern from its airwaves in a move disappointing millions of morning commuters due to its newly discovered "zero tolerance" policy toward indecency. CCU cited Stern's interview this past Tuesday with Rick Salomon over his infamous internet sex flick with Paris Hilton as one reason it has decided to force listeners to change their radio dial, apparently deeming many Americans incapable of doing so on their own free speech, err, will.

CNN is reporting that Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski has been killed following a plane crash in the mountains of Bosnia. Trajkovski was considered the voice of reason in a grief stricken region of Europe.

The New York Times, reports that as a result of the victory for the religious hard-liners in this past week's elections in Iran, the CIA issued an assessment which warned that Iranians could be in for an era of repression and inflexibility, breaking Iran's previous record of 3 straight decades in a row of repression and inflexibility.

Have a great day.


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